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Farscape - Season 2 - Episode 17

Farscape - 2x17 - The Ugly Truth - Originally Aired: 2000-9-8

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 6

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Crais invites Crichton, Aeryn, D'Argo, Zhaan and Stark on board Talyn, and announces that he is going to remove the young gunship's weapons and replace them with a non-lethal Plokavian weapon called a 'Dampening Net'. When the Plokavians arrive with the device, Talyn suddenly targets and destroys one of their vessels! Crichton and the others are captured after Crais starbursts away with Talyn, and their situation becomes a desperate 'whodunnit'. Each is interrogated in turn by the Plokavians, who intend to execute the person they deem responsible. [DVD]

Filler Quotient: 0, not filler, do not skip this episode.
- This episode is not filler for a number of reasons, but most importantly because of the cliffhanger at the end of the episode.


- Novatrin gas is one of the six cargoes leviathans are forbidden to carry.

Remarkable Scenes
- Crais inviting Moya's crew aboard Talyn and requesting assistance disarming Talyn due to his alleged increased aggressive behavior.
- Talyn shooting the Plokavian ship out of the sky then starbursting away.
- The transport pod being captured by the remaining Plokavians.
- John describing their jail cell as "some kind of floating hubcap."
- John referring to the Plokavians as "Plakavoids."
- Crais banishing Moya's crew from Talyn after Talyn destroyed the Plokavian ship.
- Stark telling the Plokavians that Crais deliberately attacked them.
- D'Argo implicating Stark as the one responsible for making Talyn fire on the Plokavians.
- Pilot: "Moya feels guilty." Chiana: "Why? Because Talyn blew up some weapons dealers? If you ask me, they had it coming."
- John: "Ten Plakavoids see a fender bender, you get ten identical reports?" The Plokavians: "Yes."
- Everyone in John's account referring to the Plokavians and the "Plakavoids."
- Stark confessing for the crime.
- The Plokavians dispersing Stark.
- Moya's crew deducing that Talyn fired on the Plokavians of his own volition because he was scared and was trying to protect Moya from the Novatrin gas in the possession of the Plokavians.

My Review
An amusing and fascinatingly framed story with a dramatic twist at the end. Stark's noble sacrifice was abrupt, surprising, and moving. Though like in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan we can be all but certain Stark isn't dead. He's been given a get out of death free card due to his mystic powers and his method of execution.

I am frequently irritated by deaths framed in such a way in science fiction stories because despite how moving Stark's death was, the fact that we cannot know that it is certain death robs it of much of its dramatic appeal regardless of whether or not we ever see him again. Nevertheless, the ending is a great dark twist despite its shortcomings.

The next most remarkable thing in this story is the delightful framing device of most of the episode's plot being told via the dramatized accounts of each of the five prisoners. Each prisoner's subtly different account of what happened aboard Talyn was delightful in its own way. There are too many amusing details to list.

Overall The Ugly Truth is a solid story. Along with Stark's noble sacrifice and the fun of the different accounts of the prisoners, it was great seeing Talyn and Crais again and this time they were used for more than just a silly cameo appearance. Hopefully they start to play a bigger and more frequent role in the ongoing story soon.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Margaret J on 2019-06-28 at 9:17pm:
    I did not really like this one. The story just seemed to drag with no forward momentum - it was also somewhat disorientating as it what hard to remember who said what,within the various perspectives. It also was not very original even within the sci-fi tv series genre the alternative perspectives on one story or truth have been told several and IMO told better.
    Also at this point I do/did not really care all that much about Stark (besides the LATP trilogy he has only been in one other episode prior to this) so if someone had to pay/die/be dispersed only logical it woild be him.
    However I did appreciate seeing Crias and Talon again.
    I gave the episode a 4

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